Tuesday MLB Best Bet
Philadelphia vs Boston
The Phillies and Red Sox wrap up a brief two-game set tonight after Boston ended up taking the opener 2-1 in extra innings last night. Neither team could really find a way to solve the opposing starter as both Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola and Boston’s David Price went eight innings apiece, as despite 17 hits combined, neither side could really string a few of them together. Will that change tonight with Jake Arrieta and Drew Pomeranz squaring off?
Considering last night’s game was 2-1, seeing a total of 10 tonight was a bit jarring initially, but it speaks to the hitter-friendly Fenway Park they are in tonight, and the recent form of both pitchers.
Philadelphia’s Jake Arrieta has been receiving a lot of praise for being that guy who was brought over for some veteran leadership and helped propel the Phillies ahead of schedule in their rebuild, but it’s tough to argue that Arrieta is a big reason why the Phillies have had success overall given his middling numbers on the year.
Arrieta’s 3.45 ERA and 8-6 SU record aren’t bad by any means, but when you’ve allowed more runs on average per start (4.8) compared to what you are getting in support (4.2) like Arrieta has this year, chances are you’ve been a bit lucky in winning more games than you’ve lost. Considering this potent Boston lineup has been held to three runs or less in three of their last five games, chances are we may see a rather short night for Arrieta. Yet, even if that ends up being the case, I’m not really that excited to be backing Boston either as Drew Pomeranz has been awful the last few times he’s taken the hill.
Pomeranz has a 9.00 ERA over his last three starts as he’s given up 18 hits in just 13 IP during that time. Take it back a start or two further and Pomeranz has only pitched five full innings once in his last five starts and has seen the opposition score at least three runs against him in nine of his last 10 starts. Those are just horrific numbers that have to get you off any consideration of a Boston ML play. Now obviously, Pomeranz’s last start was his first in almost two months after a DL stint, but the time away really didn’t solve anything from a “results on the field” perspective and until that changes, I’ve got to go with the poor pitching numbers we’ve seen from him all year.
However, those numbers that Pomeranz is sporting are spectacular from the lens of an ‘over’ play on tonight’s total, even if 10 does seem high after a 2-1 contest last night. For one, this number is this high for any number of reasons as oddsmakers could believe Pomeranz’s struggles are far from solved, Arrieta is likely to be in tough tonight, Boston’s bats finally wake up and explode all at once, or a little bit of everything and then some.
Secondly, five of Arrieta’s seven career starts against Boston have cashed ‘over’ tickets, including a trip to Fenway last year as a member of the Cubs when he was shelled for 10 hits and five runs in just 4.1 IP of an eventual 5-4 Boston win. This Red Sox lineup has only gotten exponentially more dangerous than last year’s version, and with Arrieta already having plenty of horrible memories in this stadium, I think we do see one of the better versions of Boston’s attack show up in spades tonight.
And the fact is, Boston will probably need one of their better offensive attacks to show up tonight just to have a chance to win with Pomeranz on the hill. His time on the DL really didn’t seem to solve much of anything other than get him “healthier,” and in four career starts against this Philadelphia organization, Pomeranz has never beaten them. And most of those starts came back when the Phillies were really bad too.
So, after getting away from the initial jarring feeling from this total being 10, as I started to look deeper and deeper into this game, I couldn’t help but wonder why it wasn’t actually a shade higher. Both offenses are more than capable of putting up multiple crooked numbers against each respective starter, and chances are we could see last year’s total score surpassed by the time the 1st inning’s done. I expect both teams to trade crooked numbers back-and-forth with one another, with possibly the team that’s able to break away with the biggest one in the middle innings being the one to hold on and win.